A three ring circus: The disciplining and commodification of political science
AuthorMcGovern, Patrick Joseph
AdvisorWillerton, John P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation is to examine the impact of economic rationality upon the practice of political theory within the discipline of political science and its relationship with the larger modern political context in which they are embedded. This work addresses an interest in tying together the rise of economic rationality and the rise methodism within political theory with the decline of "epic" political theory and civil society. I argue here that the decline of civil society is tied in part to the commodification of political knowledge within the modern university system, and that the modern university system and its practices are inundated by market rationality and discourse. This is expressed in the practice of political theorists "capturing" the idea of the public and commodifying it through the peer-review journal process; the "public" becomes the medium through which political theory and science identifies itself as a discipline and its practitioners professionally. The public is not privy to understanding itself as a public and is cut off from its own intellectual means of coming to grips with its own identity. Notions and ideas about the public are "methodized" and "disciplined" and are traded among political scientists and theorists more out of private professional concern than concern for serving public interests or democratic ideals and values. The purpose of political science and theory is the analysis of power in all its dimensions. I argue that political theory's position to comment on the nature of power is itself compromised by the dominance of market rationality and methodism. Political theory's critical distance from the methodism of political science has been narrowed by the rise in the importance of the peer-reviewed article for "professional development." In order for political theory to engage the expansive, critical position of epic political theory, and thus public interest, it must address the issue and problems presented by peer-review, the nature of "progress" in the social sciences and come to engage an ethic of responsibility to democracy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College